At Lyndhurst Junior School, we follow the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and for RE the agreed syllabus Living Difference III. As we are part of King's Group Academies, all children learn Spanish.
for College Park Infant & Lyndhurst Junior Schools
Setting out the curriculum that we have selected as most appropriate for our pupils, that will support them to achieve our vision and aims, as our mottos state ‘Children Playing, Improving & Smiling’ on a ‘Learning Journey to Success’.
For our pupils, most of whom have been born and brought up in and around the urban and densely populated area of the city of Portsmouth, we believe that it is important that they develop the knowledge, skills and understanding of what is often known as the ‘basic skills’ (being literate and numerate), in order to prepare them for the next stage of their education and their future lives.
If we focused on this solely, it would be doing our pupils a disservice, as they require so much more from their education with us. The curriculum needs to build basic skills and positive learning attitudes (e.g. perseverance, critical thinking), as well as good health and well-being (both physical and mental). This will enable them to satisfactorily access other areas of the curriculum and develop interests that may inspire them or provide them with career opportunities. We value our local heritage and culture: notable authors Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, local significant places such as Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portchester Castle, the woods on Portsdown Hill and recognise the importance of cultural capital whilst also acknowledging the diverse profile of the city.
Our curriculum and the timetables it drives therefore, do unapologetically need to focus on basic skills development but our staff work hard to ensure that teaching and learning is conducted within exciting and meaningful contexts. This is enhanced by our development of metacognition through our learning values, for our pupils need to learn about learning in order to build character and become better learners. The value of Creativity at College Park and Critical Thinking at Lyndhurst embody this and to promote it we need our curriculum design to allow our pupils to make connections, to try ideas out & learn from mistakes.
Also, without a focus on the development of character, our pupils will not possess the attitudes and dispositions that will enable them to learn and benefit from our curriculum offer, hence we utilise our school learning values and enhance the curriculum with a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities from visits and visitors, to before/after-school clubs and opportunities to take on additional responsibilities.
Although both schools are academies, and are therefore not bound by the requirements of the Programmes of Study of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and 2014 Primary National Curriculum, we consider that it would be foolish not to consider these, especially when national assessment and testing is conducted against these.
Consequently, we have designed a curriculum which does focus on discrete teaching and learning in English and Maths (see separate curriculum statements for each of these two core subjects for more detail), and then weaves these subjects into topics and independent learning projects (ILPs as they are known in KS2 through the use of the commercial Cornerstones curriculum), where there are purposefully planned opportunities for pupils to apply them within other areas of the curriculum e.g. opportunities for writing, mathematical tables and graphs. Repeated practice is valued, we want our pupils to learn more and also remember more. Unless learning is memorable it will not become part of our pupils’ long-term memories and therefore of far less use to them. Hence, a genre of writing which is taught in English is planned to be revisited within a topic/ILP, when it will not be taught as such but pupils will have a meaningful context in which to practise and apply their knowledge of it.
We must never under-estimate the capabilities of our primary age pupils and therefore we use both the passion and subject knowledge of our teachers to plan and lead the teaching and learning of foundations subjects e.g. our KS1 Art specialist planned lessons and demonstrated a specific technique to the whole of Yr 6 staff and pupils with the aid of a visualiser, which directly impacted on the quality of the standard of work produced, skills developed and pride. This approach is used in other subjects and is becoming even more so as the two schools work together. It is raising standards in the quality of education as staff share their specific curriculum expertise.
When we are clear about the content, knowledge and skills that we are teaching, we can then assess our pupils’ progress in each subject. In this way we can make accurate assessments, track progress and plan for next steps in learning, as well as report to parents. Our annual reports to parents have changed to ensure that we report not only on coverage but attitudes, attainment and achievement. Pupils are given the opportunity to acknowledge their achievements and set themselves future goals.
We adopt a structured approach to the teaching of English and Maths, coupled with the careful use of commercially produced schemes of work (e.g. Wordsmith for English and Cornerstones for foundation subjects). This has helped to provide teachers with the subject knowledge and progression required to plan and teach very effectively. This has impacted positively on pupil results. One area where the school has always excelled is in sporting prowess. Our pupils are extremely competitive and we are building upon their physical skills which are often developed outside of school in clubs and teams, to represent the school but also to further improve our P.E. curriculum.